Natural hair grows
Recent research indicates that there is a growing natural hair trend among African-American women in the United States, with a shift from relaxed to natural becoming so common that it has sparked growth of those hair care products that help hair “transition.”
The trend is evident in looking at sales of hair relaxer kits at food, drug and mass (excluding Walmart). According to SymphonyIRI Group, sales of hair relaxer kits slipped more than 7% for the 52 weeks ended Oct. 30.
Meanwhile, ethnic hair care manufacturers increasingly are developing new products for hair that is curly, wavy, kinky-coily and frizzy. One such example is Beautiful Textures, which just launched its new ethnic hair care collection that includes Curl Control Defining Pudding, Moisture Butter Whipped Curl Crème and Shine & Silken Growth Oil.
Ethnic hair care brand Curls now is offering its hair care collection at Sally’s Beauty, Walgreens and Rite Aid. This collection, designed for all naturally curly hair types, includes Lavish Curls Moisturizer and a curl gel called Goddess Curls.
In addition, Ampro Industries, a maker of multicultural hair care products, recently debuted its Olive Oil styling gel, which is made with 100% olive oil and reportedly is the most moisturizing gel Ampro ever made.
Market research firm Mintel noted in its most recent U.S. Black Haircare report that olive oil is the most commonly sought ingredient in hair care products (62%), while vitamin E (52%) and shea butter (48%) also are in high demand.
The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Ethnic Beauty Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.
Painting a bleak picture – bleak, but not hopeless
“Just 1-in-4 consumers expect their financial position to improve in the coming year.” That’s the way SymphonyIRI Group saw it in its recently released report “The Downturn Shopper: Buckled in for a wild and crazy ride.” Among the highlights — or lowlights — of how consumers are responding to the pressure:
49% visit the hair salon/spa less often;
40% are trying fewer new products;
36% are going to the doctor less and self-treating more — 10% are using more at-home dental products, like whitening strips, to avoid the dentist;
35% are using more at-home beauty treatments; and
33% are sharing more products.
“Consumers are shortening their grocery lists and trimming budgets by sharing products, such as shampoo and toothpaste, rather than buying ‘special order’ brands for individuals within the household,” SymphonyIRI noted. They’re also trying to make the personal care products they do buy last longer by mixing product with water, using product less often or in lesser amounts, and often just buying less:
55% are trying to make personal care products last longer;
43% are trying to make beauty products last longer;
37% are looking for multisymptom OTC remedies to avoid buying more than one item; and
35% are trying to use fewer OTCs.
Taken together with our cover story by senior editor Michael Johnsen, it paints a pretty bleak picture of the economy — bleak, maybe, but not hopeless. The best retailers and brand marketers will be able to adjust their vision to find the subtleties that exist in the gray areas that divide consumers rather than trying to target the black-and-white distinctions.
From the Blogs
Last month, DrugStoreNews.com introduced “From the Blogs,” a hot new content feature anchored by expert blogs from key industry veterans and opinion leaders. From the Blogs creates an interactive forum for DSN users to become active participants in the debate.
This month in From the Blogs, 30-year retail vet Dave Van Howe, VP and general manager for MPG Drug/Crossmark — and resident DSN.com customer optimization expert — talks about the challenges new products face in breaking through, and the three critical things every supplier needs to know if they plan to get a retail buyer’s attention.
And anchoring our new “UpMarketing” blog, Hamacher Resource Group VP and co-owner Dave Wendland talks about the four critical consumer activation strategies with the greatest influence on purchasing behavior.
Got an idea for a new DSN From the Blogs topic? Contact Rob Eder at [email protected].
Rob Eder is the editor in chief of The Drug Store News Group, publishers of Drug Store News, DSN Collaborative Care and Specialty Pharmacy magazines. You can contact him at [email protected].
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It’s that kind of Dickensian double-speak that personifies the tone of the holiday forecasts this year — forecasts that have really been all over the board. Even with the strong Black Friday/Cyber Monday tailwind that’s been driving retailer holiday hopes higher in the past few weeks, and the fact that consumers are more focused on gift-giving this year than last, there still seems to be two distinct consumers shaking out — that higher-end, bullish consumer who’s paying close attention to stock prices and that middle-end, running-on-empty consumer who’s paying close attention to gas prices.
The question is whether this “Tale of Two Retails” is just more of the same old “new normal” shopping behavior, in which all consumers exercise restraint and hold out for better values, or is the game changing once again? If the consumer press has it right about the shrinking middle class that’s helping to stretch the divide between rich and poor, what does that mean for retailers who traditionally have targeted the middle?
Walmart may be proving to be a cautionary tale — the retailer that historically has focused on lower-echelon customers through everyday low pricing has struggled with negative comps of late. And Walmart is facing greater competition for that low-end consumer as dollar store operators look to improve their chic appeal through a broader branded mix. According to Accenture, such low-end retailers as Family Dollar and Dollar General saw average revenue grow by 19% in total over the past three years. By contrast, retailers catering to the middle class — such as JCPenney, Kohl’s and Sears — grew by only 6% in the same period.
Many drug retailers appear to be raising the retail experiences they deliver to meet the expectations of a higher-end consumer with prestige beauty offerings and a greater stake in fresh food. Walgreens is even making a long-term play against electric car owners, most of whom make more than $100,000 on average, according to a J.D. Power survey.
But the new normal in consumer behavior hasn’t necessarily changed, not even for higher-end consumers. Women still are making purchase decisions from their kitchen table and still are on the hunt for the best value when filling out that list. But higher-end consumers do represent an untapped opportunity for drug retailers. “Drug channel sales are underdeveloped among $100,000-plus households,” noted Todd Hale, SVP shopper and consumer insights at Nielsen.
“On a total outlet basis, it is only the $100,000-plus segment — 21% of households — that are driving growth in shopping trips and spending. Within the drug channel, [more than] half of U.S. households (53%) with incomes of $50,000 or more are driving solid growth in both trips and spending,” Hale added. “In both cases, the largest declines in shopping trips and spending is among the 15% of households with incomes under $20,000.”